SpaceX has lost contact with its Starship mega rocket following explosions during its second test flight from south Texas.
The two-stage 397ft rocket – the largest and most powerful ever built – arced out over the Gulf of Mexico after blasting off from the Elon Musk-owned company’s launch site near Boca Chica.
SpaceX was aiming for an altitude of 150 miles – just high enough for the spacecraft to travel around the globe before ditching into the Pacific near Hawaii 90 minutes after lift-off.
But while the super heavy first-stage booster appeared to have successfully separated it exploded a short time later.
The main Starship craft continued into space but a few moments later a company broadcaster said mission control had lost contact with the vehicle.
SpaceX’s livestream host John Insprucker said: “We have lost the data from the second stage… we think we may have lost the second stage.”
About eight minutes into the test mission, a camera view tracking the core Starship booster appeared to show an explosion that indicated the vehicle failed at that time on reaching an altitude of 91 miles.
The company said in a post on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter: “With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary.”